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"Fred Cogswell (1917-2004) was a prolific poet, editor, professor, life member of the League of Canadian Poets, and an Officer of the Order of Canada." First Prize: Second Prize: Third Prize:

$500 $250 $100

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:  Book must be bound as a book, not a chapbook.  Book length must be a minimum of 60 pages in length.  Selected poetry must be written in English by a single author.  Book must be original work by the author (translations will not be considered at this time)  Original date of publication falls between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.  Book must be published in Canada.  Book must be written by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident alive in submission year.  Electronic books are not eligible. In case of dispute about the book’s eligibility, the Society’s decision will be final. Candice James is the judge for our 2017 Fred Cogswell Award For Excellence In Poetry.

Reading Fee: $25 (all funds Canadian). Payment can be made through PayPal (there is a link below) or by money order (payable to “Royal City Literary Arts Society”). If you pay with Paypal, please include a copy of your receipt with the submission package. Two copies* of the book must be submitted to the Royal City Literary Arts Society, along with the reading fee (or proof thereof), and must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2017. The society’s mailing address is: Royal City Literary Arts Society Fred Cogswell Award Box #308 - 720 6th Street New Westminster, BC V3L 3C5

Shortlist will be announced Oct 15, 2017. Winners will be announced Nov 1, 2017.

Winning authors & titles will be included in the December issue of RCLAS’s Wordplay e-zine. *Submitted books will not be returned; they become the property of the Royal City Literary Arts Society.

Write On! Contest 2017 Poetry Winners & Honourable Mentions

4th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Poetry First Place Winner Bible Camp The first afternoon was handicrafts—God`s eyes made from popsicle sticks and strips of yarn, the Lord’s iris and cornea purple and orange. Day two was the Garden of Eden, Cat Steven’s sweet the rain’s new fall my love for Jesus quiet—y a wild strawberry hiding in long grass. By Wednesday I praised with elation. I loved the jungle swing hung from a poplar. Swooped fast through clouds of gnats over top of the lake and all His creatures, the rainbow trout, the leeches. Evenings at chapel were cool for girls in sleeveless shirts. I leaned into Anita, my bare arm touching her smallpox scar I leaned into John Chapter Three, Verse Sixteen, sang His Banner Over Me. Saturday night was the rapture— Pastor Jim’s ventriloquist act. His sidekick Billy with plastic apple cheeks. Jim barely moving his human mouth

Sylvia Symons

Billy flapping his plastic one A fire will come, it’ll wipe out the world! From Billy we learned how brimstone burns. Sinners consigned to a fiery lake.

Anita cried. I couldn’t move in my makeshift pew my love for Jesus a wild rabbit after you snap a twig. First I froze, then I bolted over tree roots. Nerves, tendons, electric in my legs. The mineral scent of the lake became my mother who made my bones who planted pansies and called me schnooks who lived in sin with a man—his hands down the babysitter’s pants. I ran to the radio phone, prayed for transmission but couldn’t get through to her couldn’t get through. The radio static crackled like fire.

4th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Poetry Second Place Winner Annette LeBox Place of My Body I sing of the body, breathe your mountains, bathe in your frozen streams, your waters anoint me. I sing of the body, offer my tongue to the salt air, breasts to your islands, they succor me. I sing of the body, steal your sacred lilies, suck their marrow, wind your sweetgrass through my fingers. Your fields spread before me, greening. I sing of the body, wander through your seasons. Springs rise in my veins, quicken my tepid sap. A child again, I climb trees, pick crabapple, hazelnut, black haw in my wintered skin. Birds gorge on my fruit, drape wings around my shoulders— a feathered shawl. My throat swells, sings of April, of stars, of candlefish,

your tapers light my way. I sing of the body, gather cranberries from your bogs, wapato roots from your sloughs, bracken from your ponds. What connects us to place but body? A longing to be more than muscle and blood and bone. I sing to remember all you were — to mourn what you’ve become under the weight of time.

4th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Poetry Third Place Winner Celeste Snowber Hymn to a mountain ash

at the UBC Botanical Garden

you are autumn dripping with beauty gradations of pink, crimson, cream berries, lacing your parts Sorbus vilmorinii you belong to Rosaceae native to Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan apples, pears, hawthorns are your cousins marmalade for the soul your colours change red, orange, yellow, white you are found in habitats hybrids common in the wild some of us are more at home in the wild, on the wild side you, oh sorbus vilmorinii opposite wild grape growing up native cedar, your berries are a bird’s gourmet free range and organic a table of delight we are all at your feet bird, woman, man and child swallow your feast

4th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Poetry Honourable Mention Clara A.B. Joseph The Birthday Gift We celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday At our convenience because No one knows when she was born; Or, because we are not there On her unknown birthday. Her sons excuse themselves saying: The day Mother was born, We weren’t there ha ha. She herself is of little assistance by now. We intend to spread the table With chicken biriyani, cutlets, oven-baked kingfish, Onion salad. (The kingfish came out of the restaurant oven, by the way. I am in charge. Everything is restaurant-made.) Before the guests – her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren really – Arrive, I snatch some time to be with her alone. I lay my head in her lap Careful to not let go of the burden Of my head. I can tell she likes it as she proceeds to Stroke my hair, ruffling my hairdo. There is no one else in sight. She then leans back And closes her eyes. I’m astonished that she is resting. She has never sat back quite like that And I wasn’t even pushing her

Against the sofa. She is indeed leaning back Closing her eyes, Resting for a change. As I raise my head to look at her She tells me: I remember I remember your father, she says. I look at her, wondering if it isn’t medication that has brought this On. (My darling father died only yesterday. Only twenty-five years ago.) I remember, she says, he was in the military. I remember. And as I raise my head to look at her She tells me again: I remember. Raw on my nerve Her secret.

4th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Poetry Honourable Mention Jude Neale Blue Bowl I like the way you wrap your hand round my fingers so that I feel bird-boned and small. I inhale you deeply push past shoals of lethargy. You circle my shoulders draw me close to your side as a ribbon holds hair. I slipped a silver ring into your pocket intending to settle you down. But sometimes when wind whips the tops of the cedars and the white dog howls on the stair I scrape my tin spoon on the blue china bowl you hold and tether me here.

4th Annual RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Poetry Honourable Mention Clara A.B. Joseph Really Ripe Mangoes At my mother-in-law’s The thud Thud Thud Thud thud are mangoes Ripening to the earth All day All night Self-giving

2017 RCLAS Write On! Contest BIOS: Poetry Winners & Honourable Mentions

Sylvia Symons spent most of her childhood in Prince George, BC. She now lives with her husband and sons in Vancouver where she teaches ESL at Langara College. A graduate of SFU's The Writer's Studio, her work appears in EVENT, Geist, Room, emerge 16, and Best Canadian Poetry, 2016.

Annette LeBox is an award-winning poet with more than fifty poems published in literary journals such as Event, Poetry Canada, Matrix and Prairie Fire. Her short fiction has appeared in Dalhousie Review and Grain. Her novels have been nominated for Young Readers Choice Awards and she is a two-time co-recipient of the BC Book Prize for Children’s Illustrated Literature. Her latest book, Peace is an Offering, sold more than 234,000 copies and has been translated into Spanish and Chinese. LeBox holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and a certificate from The Writers Studio at SFU.

Celeste Snowber, Ph.D. is a dancer, writer, poet and educator, who is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. She is author of Embodied prayer, co-author of Landscapes in aesthetic education, Embodied Inquiry: Writing, living and being through the body and her first collection of poetry is Wild tourist. Celeste is presently the Artist in Residence in the UBC Botanical garden creating and performing poetry and dance out of each season. She is the mother of three amazing adult sons and lives in New Westminster with her husband. She can be found at

2017 RCLAS Write On! Contest BIOS: Poetry Winners & Honourable Mentions

Clara A.B. Joseph’s poems have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Review, Mother Earth International, Canadian Women’s Studies, the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Feminist Studies in Religion, and Transnational Literature. Her first book of poetry, In the Face of the Other (2016), was published by Interactive Press (IP), Brisbane. Both “The Birthday Gift” and “Really Ripe Mangoes” received Honourable Mention in RCLAS’ 2017 Write On! Contest, Poetry Category.

Jude Neale is a Canadian poet, vocalist, spoken word performer and mentor. She publishes frequently in journals, anthologies, and e-zines. Jude has written five books. Her last book, A Quiet Coming of Light, A Poetic Memoir (leaf press), was a finalist for the 2015 Pat Lowther Memorial Award, several of its poems were shortlisted for The Magpie Award, judged by George McWhirter, Vancouver's first Poet Laureate and three of its poems were nominated for the coveted Pushcart Prize (US) by three different publishers. Jude’s newest book is Splendid in its Silence. One of Jude's poems was chosen by Britain's Poet Laureate to ride with other winners around the Channel Islands on public transit for a year. Jude was a featured reader at the Guernsey International Literary festival. This book was recently a SPM Prize winner and was published in the UK in April.

Write on! Contest Reading Event, June 2017


Ruth Hill

“Ruth Hill was raised in upstate New York, and traveled North America extensively. Ruth lived 5 years entirely off the grid, sailing the west coast of British Columbia. She became a Lightstation Keeper, a Log Scaler, and a Certified Design Engineer. Over 300 of her poems have received awards or publication in the US, UK, Canada, Israel, Australia, and online. She welcomes email at” Dear RCLAS friends, I am happy to display some of my contest-winning poems here in Wordplay at Work. I truly hope you enjoy these poems. I love phonics. Language came from sound first, and was written later. Each of our letters represents a sound. I enjoy how it tastes when enunciating sounds. These poems are meant to be spoken out loud. I enjoy onomatopoeia: quaking aspen sh-sh-shaking, a trembling tambourine; or raindrops tinkling like a xylophone. But sound is not enough; words must add meaning and metaphor. I deliberately add words with double meanings to stimulate the reader’s mind to wander freely into associated subjects. I relish embellishing simple subjects, but portraying profound subjects in the simplest language. The only way I write is by spontaneous inspiration. When something strikes my heart, my brain churns out an entire string of connected words. I have to hustle to get the lines written down. Jane Hirshfield said, “I don't think poetry is based just on poetry; it is based on a thoroughly lived life.” I agree. I am thirsty for a life rich enough to include creative inspiration. Thank you all for your warm hospitality to me, a far away stranger, and for this opportunity to communicate through poetry. Ruth Hill

*Pouf: a round or square piece of padded furniture with an upholstered cover, used as a seat or footrest. N. American term: hassock

Another memorable summer of poetry amongst the flora and fauna in beautiful Queen’s Park has concluded. And once again Poetry in the Park 2017 delivered an entertaining and inclusive reading at the bandshell each and every Wednesday evening. Thanks to the Royal City Literary Arts Society, especially Vice-President Janet Kvammen, the most dedicated attendee, and President Nasreen Pejvack, who did an exemplary job of acquiring grants for the series. Shout outs go to the Arts Council of New Westminster and the City of New Westminster for giving us access to the gallery and bandshell respectively. Also to Sloane Elphinstone for plugging PIP in the New Westminster Leisure Guide. Highlights from this year’s readings include: Our cast of friendly faces that enjoyed a debut, or return, feature on the bandshell stage including Sherry Duggal, Alan Girling, Warren Dean Fulton, Janet Kvammen, Franci Louann, Lara Varesi and Mohamad Kebbewar. A couple of PIP appearances from poet laureates: our newly minted Poet Laureate of New Westminster, Alan Hill, as well as a surprise visit from the Poet Laureate of the Yukon, PJ Johnson. The breathtaking poems read from the array of talented female writers: Catherine Owen, Lindsay Kwan, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Cassandra Metcalfe, Chelsea Comeau, Mallory Tater and Nefertiti Morrison. Benjamin Hertwig debuting his powerful full-length book of war poems, stemming from his time as a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan. I remember him saying eloquently, “Poetry is an act of witness.” A sentiment I won’t soon forget. The final PIP, capped off with two excellent features: Curtis LeBlanc and Blair Trewartha. Both displayed a muscular command of the English Language—a treat for all of us present who were privy to a preview of the up-and-coming talent Canadian Literature has to offer. Finally I would like to address and thank our regular attendees and open mic’ers for without whom the PIP experience would not be the same: Sara Jane Sato, DN Simmers, James Felton, Herb Bryce (Resident Bard), Mike Kvammen, Sylvia Symons, Anna Raasveldt, Pandora Ballard, Val Parks, and Sharanya C. Keep reading, writing and sharing poetry with friends and loved ones. We’ll see you next summer. Let’s make 2018 the best PIP yet!

Best Regards, Aidan Aidan Chafe Director of Poetry in the Park RCLAS Board Member

Mosaic of the Arts Summer 2017 Memories A Celebration!

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our summer adventure!!! We appreciate each and every one of you!!!

MotA Summer 2017 Hosts: RCLAS President Nasreen Pejvack RCLAS VP Janet Kvammen Merril Hall Lavana La Brey Julia Schoennagel

Finale Night August 28, 2017 RCLAS Songwriters Open Mic with Poul Bech, Lawren Nemeth and Enrico Renz Featuring singer Tissa Rahim & Artist Candice James

RCLAS Upcoming Events Info: RCLAS Writing Workshop: An Afternoon of Mercy for Memoir Writers Facilitator: Jónína Kirton Reserve your spot: Date: Saturday September 9, 2017 Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm Location: Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Host: Deborah L. Kelly Description: Those called to write their stories feel the pull towards the field of freedom that waits for us on the other side of the telling and yet we hold back. The unfurling of our words limited by the fear of misrepresenting or harming ourselves and others. Offering mercy to ourselves and our stories brings us in touch with the generosity of words and the need for healing. We all have what Stephen Levine calls “unattended sorrow.” Within the various sorrows that we carry there can be a lot of uncertainty and doubt. Accepting that there is much that we do not know can enrich our writing. Attending to our sorrow and letting go of the need for forgiveness or neat and tidy endings can allow us to let go of the need for ‘truth’ and the approval of others. Attending first to ourselves and our stories may seem selfish but without these brave acts our writing may not find its wings. Using sacred circle teachings Jónína will unpack the ways we limit ourselves and some of the things we can do to support our writing practice. Together we will lean into mercy. We will explore what it has to offer us and our readers.

Jónína Kirton A prairie born Métis/Icelandic poet, author and facilitator currently lives in Vancouver, the unceded territory of the Salish people. She graduated from the Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio in 2007 and is currently a member of their Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Room Magazine Editorial board. Jónína received the 2016 Mayor's Arts Award for Emerging Artist under the Literary Arts category. Her work has been featured in a number of anthologies and literary journals including, the CV2, Royal BC Museum’s online magazine: Curious, Humber Literary Review, Ricepaper’s Asian/Aboriginal Issue, V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out, Pagan Edge, First Nations Drum, Toronto Quarterly and Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine. Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, released in April 2015 by Talonbooks, has been described as “restorative, intimate poetry, drawing down ancestral ideas into the current moment’s breath.” Her second collection of poetry, An Honest Woman, was released in the Spring 2017 again with Talonbooks. Workshop Fees: RCLAS Members $15/Non-members $25 Pay via Paypal here:

RCLAS presents “Songwriters Open Mic Night” Date: Tuesday, Sept 5, 2017 Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Free admission. Location: The Heritage Grill, Backstage Room, 447 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC Hosts: Enrico Renz, Lawren Nemeth and Poul Bech More info Description: Original music only, performed by the songwriters! Great venue: good sound, food, beverages and a friendly, supportive audience that actually listens. Every First Tuesday of the Month. RCLAS presents “Tellers of Short Tales” Date: Thursday Sept 7, 2017. 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Free admission. Location : Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster Host: Nasreen Pejvack, featuring a different author each session. Feature Author: Mark Cameron Open Mic Sign Up More info Description: A program of monthly readings designed to engage fans of the short story genre with emerging and published short story writers. Also, an open microphone will be available for writers who would like to share their stories. RCLAS presents “Wordplay” with Alan Girling Date: Thursday, Sept 7, 2017. 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Free admission. Location: Buy-Low Foods Community Room, 555 – 6th Street, New Westminster Host: Alan Girling More info Description: Wordplay is our monthly idea-generating drop-in series for writers of all kinds. Find new approaches to your writing; unlock that treasure chest in your head! This group generates some fabulous first drafts; all you need to bring is writing tools, paper, and a ready mind. This is not a critique group; let’s have some fun! Poetic Justice Date: Sunday September 17, 2017 Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm. Location: Boston Pizza at Columbia Square, 1045 Columbia St, New Westminster Host: James Felton Open Mic Host: Linda Holmes Feature Poets: Theresa Kishkan and John Pass Open Mic Sign Up. Check out our website for upcoming features

RCLAS presents “In Their Words: A Royal City Reading Series” Date: Thurs, Sept 21st, 2017, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Free admission Location: Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St, New Westminster Host: Alan Girling Featured Readers: Geoffrey Nilson reads Pat Lowther Susan Millar reads Madeleine Thien Alan Hill reads Ocean Vuong Description In Their Words happens on the 3rd Thursday of every other month. Feature speakers present their favourite author from any genre in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or drama. Presentations include a brief commentary about the author and a reading of selections that exemplify what the presenter loves about the author’s work. A short Q&A follows each presenter. Please note new date, time and location. In Their Words will be at Anvil Centre due to the NW library reno. RCLAS presents “Children’s Chronicles” Date: Saturday Sept 23, 2017. 3:30pm – 5pm, Free admission. Location: Queensborough Community Centre, Royal Room 920 Ewen Street, New Westminster Feature Author: Danika Dinsmore Description: For children 8-12 years of age. Story time, writing and discussion. More info Danika Dinsmore works in speculative and literary fiction with an emphasis on juvenile and young adult literature. Utilizing her background in performing arts and education, she developed her interactive Imaginary Worlds Tours events, which she often takes on the road, entertaining children and teaching world building to both kids and adults. She is author of children’s fantasy novels Brigitta of the White Forest, The Ruins of Noe, Ondelle of Grioth, and Narine of Noe. For more Book series description: Faerie Tales from the White Forest is a middle grade fantasy adventure series. Set on the imaginary world of Faweh, the faeries from the protected realm of the White Forest face greater and greater challenges when destiny calls on them to “make the balance right again” after the Great World Cry sends the world into elemental chaos.

REMINDER Cogswell Award Submissions must be postmarked by OCT 1, 2017


Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President/E-zine Antonia Levi

RCLAS Members Open Call for Submissions No theme required to submit. Themes: Autumn, Rain, Orange. Halloween Feature: Deadline Sept 21, 2017 Issue 48 Ongoing Submissions for upcoming “New Westminster” Special Feature. Poetry, Short Stories, Book excerpts, articles & lyrics are all welcome for submission to future issues of Wordplay at work. Submit Word documents (Please include YOUR NAME and Title on document name) to

Thank you to our Sponsors & Venues 

City of New Westminster

Arts Council of New Westminster

New Westminster Public Library

Anvil Centre

Boston Pizza, Columbia Square

Buy-Low Foods

The Heritage Grill

Queensborough Community Centre

Judy Darcy, MLA

Renaissance Books

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” ~ Sylvia Plath

See upcoming events at Facebook

Sept 2017 Wordplay at work ISSN 2291- 4269 Contact: RCLAS Vice-President/ E-zine

September 2017 RCLAS Ezine,Wordplay at Work, Issue 47  
September 2017 RCLAS Ezine,Wordplay at Work, Issue 47